Indigenous people living in remote community homes are suffering through oppressive heat worsened by climate change, new research has found.
Australian National University-led research published last week in the Medical Journal of Australia revealed the Northern Territory has in recent times faced oppressive heat four times higher than average.
The research found climate change had exacerbated energy poverty in remote communities, pointing to lack of access to sustainable appliances, air conditioning and refrigeration.
This has in turn worsened high chronic disease levels in remote communities, leaving sufferers dependent on heat-sensitive medications such as insulin.
Difficulty storing such medication has led to serious health matters being left unattended.
Indigenous researchers have been working on solution to mitigate the damages of the climate crisis in these rural communities, including strengthening building codes to improve insulation and cooling mechanisms.
Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation director and Jupurrurla-Warumungu Elder Norman Frank said Indigenous voices needed to be part of the solution.
“We need better housing built for the climate in this country… We need the make our own design,” he said.
Australian National University research associate and Euahlayi man Bhiamie Williamson said it was incumbent on the new Federal government to combine western science and Indigenous knowledge for answers.
“(Indigenous peoples) have an extraordinary database of cultural knowledge reaching back to ancient climate change events,” he said.
“The door is open for an ambitious parliament to consider climate change and justice as tandem pursuits.
“Excluding our voices will inevitably mean opportunities will pass us by”.
The research comes after Nganampa Health Council chief executive John Singer last year called for new new legislation enforce better design and construction standards as well as Indigenous based tenancy management.
- Story by James Italia-Prasad